Lingo, Terms, and Slang Only Pageant Girls Understand

Everyone has that certain circle of friends that seems to speak their own language.  Whether it’s your work buddies, teammates, or sorority sisters, it’s comforting to know that you can turn to a few people who know exactly what you’re talking about when you’re together.  Having been participating in pageants for nearly two years, I learned some lingo along the way that I often have to define when I talk about pageants to people who aren’t involved.  I compiled a list of a few terms only pageant girls understand in hopes of clearing up many of the awkward conversations I’ve had with non-pageant people…because butt glue is not as weird as it sounds. Or maybe it is..

Miss Congeniality:  No, we’re not talking about the classic pageant flick starring Sandra Bullock (although this is a personal favorite).  Miss Congeniality is a term that most people think of negatively due to the reference to this movie.  However, most people don’t know that the “Miss Congeniality” award is nearly as honorable as being named the winner.  This award is decided upon by fellow contestants and is given to the girl that they believe is the most genuine, outgoing, friendly and helpful.


Sticky boobs:  This is a very unique kind of bra that has no straps or back clasp, but an adhesive layer on the inside that sticks right to the skin.  Yes, there is a style of bra like this, but I may also be talking about duct tape..  Defying all laws of physics, sticky boobs are great because they can be worn with everything including backless gowns, swimsuits, interview dresses, and so much more.  They’re virtually invisible but offer incredible support.  Basically a God-send.

System:  Most people that I talk to that haven’t been involved in pageants have no idea that there is a difference between Miss USA and Miss America.  These are two different pageant systems and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different systems worldwide.  Each system has different rules, areas of competition, and judging.  Sure, pageant girls can do different systems if they choose, but every girl usually has one system she loves the most.

Platform:  A platform is something every pageant girl has, but no two are exactly identical.  A platform is any issue the girl feels passionate about and wishes to educate the community on.  She often dedicates a lot of time, service, and fundraising dollars to her platform.  They can be anything from “Autism Awareness” to “Eat Healthy, Fuel Your Body” to “Keeping the Arts in Elementary Schools.”  Every pageant girl has a heart for service and her platform allows her to spread her personal message.


Miss America 2012, Laura Kaeppeler

Walking pattern:  When you’re on stage, it’s easy to get lost in the bright lights and hype of the crowd and forget where exactly you’re supposed to be walking.  If you watch closely at a pageant, every contestant walks the same way, turns the same way and poses in the same spot.  This is all thanks to walking patterns and handy dandy “x” tape marks.  Walking patterns ensure that each contestant can strut their stuff on stage in exactly the right spots and can be seen by the audience and judges.

Prelims:  Many people don’t know that every large pageant has preliminary competitions.  Scores from prelims carry over to the final night and determine who the semifinalists will be.  Prelims usually include an award for swimsuit and an award for talent, but awards can vary depending on the pageant system.  Just because a contestant wins a prelim award doesn’t necessarily mean she will be a semifinalist, but there is a good chance she impressed the judges enough to place well.


Miss Tennessee, Miss Alabama, and Miss Maryland at the 2013 Miss America Pageant

Johnathan Kaynes:  The Cadillac of pageant shoes, Johnathan Kaynes are particularly popular in the Miss America Organization pageant system.  These heels are versatile and can be worn with swimsuit, evening gown, and for any other formal occasion.  If you don’t have a pair of heels by Johnathan Kayne, you need some.

Bad judge:  DUN DUN DUNNNN.  Contrary to the term, the “bad judge” is probably the best judge.  Contestants immediately know who this judge is based on the first impression, usually in the private interview.  The “bad judge” asks the toughest questions, has the scariest facial expressions and is reeeeeally good at being intimidating.  Okay, okay..the “bad judge” isn’t all bad, they push us to our limits and see how good we really are.

A/B stones:  These aren’t just any old rocks you find laying around.  A/B stones are those fancy rhinestones that give off a rainbow shine.  They are most commonly found on evening gowns and pageant jewelry and match EVERYTHING.


Titleholder:  A titleholder is a girl that currently wears the crown.  She won the pageant she is representing on her sash and is usually preparing to compete for a state or national pageant very soon.  She “holds the title” for one year and this is when she is able to promote her platform even further and positively represent a local community or state.

Butt glue:  The mother of all pageant necessities.  Butt glue is a spray or roll-on adhesive that is applied directly to the skin underneath swimsuit bottoms.  Otherwise known as Elmer’s Spray Adhesive or WD-40, butt glue is phenomenal because it allows the contestant to walk freely onstage without worrying about her swimsuit riding up.  However, butt glue is only great until you have to take OFF the swimsuit for the next wardrobe change…I swear butt glue can take skin off with it.  The old term is still true: “beauty is pain.”


Miss America contestants apply “butt glue” before the Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimwear competition.


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